Gate’s tunnel set to be ready for RAF parade

COUNCIL chiefs say tunnel-building works at an iconic Suffolk gatehouse will be ready in time for an RAF homecoming parade.

Just two days before Christmas, the EADT exclusively revealed how parts of the Abbey Gate, in Bury St Edmunds, had crumbled away.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council first sealed off part of the structure before closing the gates completely on Christmas Eve to the public.

However, the gate, which dates back to 1327, was earmarked as the start point for a homecoming parade by 1 Squadron RAF Regiment, which is based at nearby RAF Honington, later this month.

Yesterday, council chiefs voiced their hopes that works to create a safe, tunnelled area through the gate would be ready in time for the parade.

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The tunnel is being built with scaffolding and the council hopes it will allow the gate to be used by the public while English Heritage, the organisation responsible for its maintenance and repair, carries out its repair works to the building.

The council says the structure “is an important gateway between the Abbey Gardens and Angel Hill” and is “used by thousands of people” each year.

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Council leader John Griffiths said: “Bury’s unique heritage adds greatly to the town’s quality of life and St Edmundsbury will continue to do everything it can to both preserve and protect it.

“We are happy to be working with English Heritage to make sure that the Abbey Gate continues to be enjoyed not only today but everyday, and for generations to come.”

As part of plans for the homecoming parade, Angel Hill (North) will be closed to traffic in front of the old borough offices from 5pm on Friday, January 14, until 11.30am, the next morning.

Other roads including the rest of Angel Hill, Cornhill, Woolhall Street and St Andrew’s Street South will be closed from 10.30am until 11.30am the following day to allow the parade to pass.

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